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« Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 221 -- Smoking. | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 222 -- U.S. Losing Its Low Tax Comparative Advantage. »

Pundit Roundtable

Welcome to our Thanksgiving edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE. This is your host, Ken McCracken, bringing you some holiday thoughts from our pundits.

Here are our topics for this week:

Topic One: This week our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. Is this an outmoded, antiquated sort of holiday, or is it still relevant? What does it mean to you? What are you thankful for?

Topic Two: Smoking bans - is this a good idea, or a bad idea? Is it contrary to the concept of liberty, or does it support it? Is there a local ban that impacts you in any way?

Our first guest is now a Pundit Roundtable stalwart, Rob Port of Say Anything. Tell us what you think Rob!

Topic One: I think Thanksgiving is relevant. Sure it has religious overtones, but who out
there doesn't have things to be thankful about? It is a day for us to
stop and remember that we live in the most wonderful country on the face
of the earth and that it didn't get to be so wonderful by accident.

Topic Two: Smoking bans are a terrible idea. If smoking is really as terrible as
some would have us believe we should just ban the practice altogether
and be done with it. But that wouldn't work. It would be a replay of
the alcohol prohibition era all over again and the anti-smoking nuts
know it. So, instead of advocating for a sweeping ban the nibble away
at the edges by making cigarettes harder to get and making the places
where smoking is acceptable fewer and farther between.

Personally, I hate smoking. It smells bad, it makes me cough and it
gives me a headache. But just because it bothers me doesn't mean I'm
going to try and make people stop doing it. I recognize that an
individual has the personal freedom to engage in that sort of activity
if they choose, and that a property owner has a right to allow it on
his/her property if they want. I avoid problems by making some choices
of my own. Like not allowing smoking on my property and avoiding
stores/bars/restaurants that are really smoky. Unfortunately, that's
not good enough for some people who would rather force other people to
bend to their will.

The idea that private property owners should be forced to submit to
smoking bans is patently ridiculous and goes against the very ideals of
freedom, liberty and personal responsibility that America is supposed to
stand for. Next these same people will be wanting to ban unhealthy
foods from restaurants lest customers who can't control themselves

Our next two guests are not even human! But we don't discriminate here at Pundit Roundtable, and so we welcome Piper and Frisky, two feline friends of Laurence Simon -



I am thankful for my Mommy and Daddy cooking too much every
Thanksgiving. That way, I get lots and lots of turkey bits to eat!



Whenever I need a smoke, I go outside to smoke.

Here is the host's last word: the concept of having a national holiday devoted giving thanks to some higher being is about as outmoded a concept as you can have these days. That does not mean it is not relevant however. Sincere gratitude and thanks are two things that seem to be missing from today's world. We seem to take it for granted that we have homes, food, education and a chance to have a little fun. It need not be so - most of human history is a tale of misery and deprivation, and we are indeed lucky to be living in an age where these things are perhaps no longer seen as inevitable. I am not religious, so I do not know where to aim my particular gratitude, whether toward God, some other higher force, or just to fortunate circumstances. All I know is that I do feel thankful to something beyond myself for the freedom to create myself.

I am thankful for my health, the joy of being alive, the freedom to express myself, and for the love (and patience) of my relatives.

I am also thankful that turkeys taste so damn good.

Smoking bans? Hate 'em. Tobacco is a legal substance, and forcing a restaurant or bar owner to ban such a legal substance from their premises is a ham-fisted intrusion of government into the affairs of business owners. You don't like second-hand smoke? Don't go to a place that has it - you have no inherent right to patronize any and every establishment you want, and a bar owner does (or should) have the freedom of association to determine who and what comes into their place of business.

That is all for this Turkey Day edition of PUNDIT ROUNDTABLE! Come back next Sunday for still more punditry and prognostication!

Posted by Ken McCracken · 20 November 2005 09:23 PM


I live in a city with a smoking ban. Best damn thing in the world. I can watch a ball game at the bar and not end up sick. But better yet, the people that work there do not get exposed to the nasty cancer causing crap.

I am inclined to say that smoking is a voluntary habit. It is most certainly not a "right" much like abortion is not a "right". If you operate a business, you have the responsibility to ensure that your customers and employees are not unduely exposed to toxic substances. If a school in my neighborhood from 50 years ago was tearing out asbestos, I would expect they would isolate the neighbors from it and force their employees to take adequate precautions. I believe that the smoking bans should be as follows:

Bars and Restaurants must provide adequate ventilation systems and have completely seperate AND EQUAL facilities for smoking and non-smoking patrons. That means if you have a bar, you must provide a seperate smoking and non-smoking bar area that are in completely different rooms with the same prices for both. Employees should have the right to sue employers that do not have adequate ventilation systems for the health impacts of working in the smoking section. And non-smokers should be able to sue restaurants that offer smoking facilities without adequate non-smoking facilities much like we allow handicapped people (and money grubbing lawyers) to sue under the ADA.

If you want to have a smoking bar or restaurant, then you accept the laibility for the health impacts to your employees and must provide a non-smoking section for non-smokers. That effectively ends the argument. The threat of litigation alone for the health impact should be enough, but if someone wants to fork over the money to install adequate ventilation and to build seperate facilities, then they should have the right to do that. Just be prepared to get sued.

Posted by: Justin B at November 21, 2005 01:38 AM

The next thing we know the Trial Attorneys will be profiting from law suits against the Restaurants!...Hmm????

Posted by: Zsa Zsa at November 21, 2005 05:52 AM

I guess somebody forced Justin to go to a bar where smoking is allowed. I always thought people had a choice of where they took their business, I guess I was wrong. I just wonder if Justin changes channels on his TV or just bitches because whichever one he's watching isn't showing something he likes...

Posted by: bullwinkle at November 21, 2005 11:02 AM